James Bond comic strips

Starting in 1958 and continuing to 1983, James Bond was a comic strip that was based on the eponymous, fictional character created by author Ian Fleming. It consisted of 52 story arcs that were syndicated in British newspapers, seven of which were initially published abroad.

Publication history

Daily Express strips

James Bond
Author(s)Anthony Hern (1958)
Henry Gammidge (1958–1966)
Peter O'Donnell (1960)
Jim Lawrence (1966–1984)
Illustrator(s)John McLusky (1958–1966, 1981–1983)
Yaroslav Horak (1966–1979, 1983–1984)
Harry North (1981)
Current status/scheduleConcluded daily and Sunday strip; reruns
Launch dateJuly 7, 1958
End date1984
Syndicate(s)Daily Express
(reruns) Andrews McMeel Syndication
Publisher(s)Titan Books
Genre(s)Adventure

In 1957, the Daily Express, a newspaper owned by Lord Beaverbrook, approached Ian Fleming about adapting his James Bond stories as comic strips. Fleming was then reluctant, because he felt the comic strips would lack the quality of his writing, potentially hurting his spy novel series while he was still writing. Fleming wrote:

The Express are desperately anxious to turn James Bond into a strip cartoon. I have grave doubts about the desirability of this ... Unless the standard of these books is maintained they will lose their point, and, I think, there I am in grave danger that inflation will spoil not only the readership, but also become something of a death-watch beetle inside the author. A tendency to write still further down might result. The author would see this happening, and disgust with the operation might creep in.

Art by John McLusky

Regardless, Fleming later agreed, and to aid the Daily Express in illustrating James Bond, Fleming commissioned an artist to sketch whom he believed James Bond to look like. The assigned illustrator, John McLusky, however, felt that Fleming's 007 appeared too "outdated" and "pre-war", and thus changed James Bond to a more rugged and masculine appearance.

The first strip, Casino Royale, was published in 1958. The story was adapted by Anthony Hern, who previously had serialised Diamonds Are Forever and From Russia with Love for the Daily Express. The majority of the early comic strips were adapted by Henry Gammidge (other than the Dr. No adaptation, 1960, by Peter O'Donnell, years before he launched his strip Modesty Blaise). McLusky later would illustrate twelve more James Bond comic strips with partner Gammidge until 1966.

In 1962 the Daily Express abruptly cancelled their agreement with Ian Fleming when Lord Beaverbrook and Fleming disputed the rights to the James Bond short story "The Living Daylights". Fleming had sold the rights to the Sunday Times, a rival newspaper — upsetting Beaverbrook into terminating his business relationship with Fleming. The dispute abruptly ended the comic strip adaptation of Thunderball. Additional panels were added later for its syndication to other newspapers, and to expand and conclude the story. Beaverbrook and Fleming later settled their differences, and the comic strip serial would continue in 1964 with On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Art by John McLusky
TitleWriterDateSerial no.
Casino RoyaleAnthony HernJuly 7, 1958 - December 13, 19581-138
Live and Let DieHenry GammidgeDecember 15, 1958 - March 28, 1959139-225
MoonrakerHenry GammidgeMarch 30, 1959 - August 8, 1959226-339
Diamonds Are ForeverHenry GammidgeAugust 10, 1959 - January 30, 1960340-487
From Russia, with LoveHenry GammidgeFebruary 1, 1960 - May 21, 1960488-583
Dr. NoPeter O'DonnellMay 23, 1960 - October 1, 1960584-697
GoldfingerHenry GammidgeOctober 3, 1960 - April 1, 1961698-849
RisicoHenry GammidgeApril 3, 1961 - June 24, 1961850-921
From a View to a KillHenry GammidgeJune 26, 1961 - September 9, 1961922-987
For Your Eyes OnlyHenry GammidgeSeptember 11, 1961 - December 9, 1961988-1065
ThunderballHenry GammidgeDecember 11, 1961 - February 10, 19621066–1128
On Her Majesty's Secret ServiceHenry GammidgeJune 29, 1964 - May 15, 19651-274
You Only Live TwiceHenry GammidgeMay 17, 1965 - January 8, 1966275-475

Art by Yaroslav Horak

In 1966 Yaroslav Horak replaced John McLusky as the artist for the Daily Express comic strip series and adapted six more Ian Fleming James Bond novels and short stories as well as Kingsley Amis' Colonel Sun with partner Jim Lawrence. The Living Daylights was also republished in the Daily Express after first appearing in the first edition of the Sunday Times magazine on February 4, 1962 and in the American magazine Argosy in June of the same year under the title Berlin Escape.

With the success of The Man with the Golden Gun Horak and Lawrence subsequently went on to write and illustrate twenty original James Bond comic strips for the Daily Express after being granted permission by Ian Fleming's Trust.

Art by Yaroslav Horak
TitleWriterDateSerial no.
The Man with the Golden GunJim LawrenceJanuary 10, 1966 - September 9, 19661-209
The Living DaylightsJim LawrenceSeptember 12, 1966 - November 12, 1966210-263
OctopussyJim LawrenceNovember 14, 1966 - May 27, 1967264-428
The Hildebrand RarityJim LawrenceMay 29, 1967 - December 16, 1967429-602
The Spy Who Loved MeJim LawrenceDecember 18, 1967 - October 3, 1968603-815
The HarpiesJim LawrenceOctober 10, 1968 - June 23, 1969816-1037
River of DeathJim LawrenceJune 24, 1969 - November 29, 19691038–1174
Colonel SunJim LawrenceDecember 1, 1969 - August 28, 19701175–1393
The Golden GhostJim LawrenceAugust 21, 1970 - January 16, 19711394–1519
Fear FaceJim LawrenceJanuary 18, 1971 - April 20, 19711520–1596
Double JeopardyJim LawrenceApril 21, 1971 - August 28, 19711597–1708
StarfireJim LawrenceAugust 30, 1971 - December 24, 19711709–1809
Trouble SpotJim LawrenceDecember 28, 1971 - June 10, 19721810–1951
Isle of CondorsJim LawrenceJune 12, 1972 - October 21, 19721952–2065
The League of VampiresJim LawrenceOctober 25, 1972 - February 28, 19732066–2172
Die with My Boots OnJim LawrenceMarch 1, 1973 - June 18, 19732173–2256
The Girl MachineJim LawrenceJune 19, 1973 - December 3, 19732257–2407
Beware of ButterfliesJim LawrenceDecember 4, 1973 - May 11, 19742408–2541
The Nevsky NudeJim LawrenceMay 13, 1974 - September 21, 19742542–2655
The Phoenix ProjectJim LawrenceSeptember 23, 1974 - February 18, 19752656–2780
The Black Ruby CaperJim LawrenceFebruary 19, 1975 - July 15, 19752781–2897
Till Death Do Us ApartJim LawrenceJuly 7, 1975 - October 14, 19752898-2983
The Torch-Time AffairJim LawrenceOctober 15, 1975 - January 15, 19762984-3060
Hot-ShotJim LawrenceJanuary 16, 1976 - June 1, 19763061-3178
NightbirdJim LawrenceJune 2, 1976 - November 4, 19763179-3312
Ape of DiamondsJim LawrenceNovember 5, 1976 - January 22, 19773313-3437

Other James Bond comic strips

In 1977 the Daily Express discontinued their series of Bond comic strips, although Horak and Lawrence went on to write and illustrate several other James Bond adventures for syndication abroad in Europe, for the Sunday Express (the Sunday edition of the Daily Express), and the Daily Star. Additionally, John McLusky returned to team up with Jim Lawrence for five comic strips. One strip, Doomcrack, featured artwork by Harry North, who at the time worked for MAD Magazine on its film parodies.

The 1983 strip Polestar was abruptly terminated by the Daily Star midway through its run and was not completed, although the complete story did appear in non-UK newspapers and was followed by several more complete serials before the James Bond comic strip officially came to an end.

TitleArtistWriterDateSerial no.
When the Wizard AwakesYaroslav HorakJim LawrenceJanuary 30, 1977 - May 22, 19771-54
Sea DragonYaroslav HorakJim Lawrence
1977
55-192
Death WingYaroslav HorakJim Lawrence
1977-1978
193-354
The Xanadu ConnectionYaroslav HorakJim Lawrence
1978
355-468
Shark BaitYaroslav HorakJim Lawrence
1978-1979
469-636
DoomcrackHarry NorthJim LawrenceFebruary 2, 1981 - August 19, 19811-174
The Paradise PlotJohn McLuskyJim LawrenceAugust 20, 1981 - June 4, 1982175-378
DeathmaskJohn McLuskyJim LawrenceJune 7, 1982 - February 2, 1983379-552
FlittermouseJohn McLuskyJim LawrenceFebruary 9, 1983 - May 20, 1983553-624
PolestarJohn McLuskyJim LawrenceMay 23, 1983 - July 15, 1983625-719
The Scent of DangerJohn McLuskyJim Lawrence
1983
720-821
Snake GoddessYaroslav HorakJim Lawrence
1983-1984
822-893
Double EagleYaroslav HorakJim Lawrence
1984
894-965

Titan Books reprints

Since first publication in the Daily Express, the comic strip adaptations have been reprinted several times. First by the James Bond 007 International Fan Club, in the early 1980s. Then annually, from 1987 to 1990, by the British Titan Books company in anthologies, beginning with The Living Daylights to tie-in with the release of the eponymous James Bond film.

First Titan Books series

  • The Living Daylights (June 1987) includes: The Man with the Golden Gun and The Living Daylights
  • Octopussy (March 1988) includes: Octopussy and The Hildebrand Rarity
  • The Spy Who Loved Me (June 1989) includes: The Spy Who Loved Me
  • Casino Royale (July 1990) includes Casino Royale and Live and Let Die

Second Titan Books series

Beginning in 2004, Titan reissued these anthologies in larger, revised editions, and also began reprinting stories that hadn't been featured in the earlier books. With a more frequent publishing schedule than the first series, all 52 stories had been published in seventeen books by March 2010. These volumes include new introductory chapters on the history of the strip and the Bond novels, and most of the books have also included special introductions written by Bond film actors, specifically Caroline Munro (The Spy Who Loved Me), George Lazenby (OHMSS), Shirley Eaton (Goldfinger), Eunice Gayson (Dr. No), Roger Moore (Casino Royale), Maud Adams (Octopussy), Britt Ekland (Colonel Sun), and Richard Kiel (The Golden Ghost). Titan's comic strip reprints were not initially published in the strips' original publication order; this changed as of the release of The Spy Who Loved Me volume.

  • The Man with the Golden Gun (February 2004) The Man with the Golden Gun and The Living Daylights
  • Octopussy (May 2004) Octopussy and The Hildebrand Rarity
  • On Her Majesty's Secret Service (August 2004) On Her Majesty's Secret Service and You Only Live Twice
  • Goldfinger (November 2004) Goldfinger, Risico, From a View to a Kill, For Your Eyes Only and Thunderball
  • Casino Royale (February 2005) Casino Royale, Live and Let Die and Moonraker
  • Dr. No (May 2005) Diamonds Are Forever, From Russia with Love and Dr. No
  • The Spy Who Loved Me (August 2005) The Spy Who Loved Me and The Harpies
  • Colonel Sun (December 2005) River of Death and Colonel Sun
  • The Golden Ghost (April 2006) The Golden Ghost, Fear Face, Double Jeopardy and Starfire
  • Trouble Spot (September 2006) Trouble Spot, Isle Of Condors, The League Of Vampires and Die With My Boots On
  • The Phoenix Project (February 2007) The Phoenix Project, The Black Ruby Caper, Till Death Do Us Part and The Torch-Time Affair
  • Death Wing (July 2007) Death Wing, Sea Dragon and When The Wizard Awakes
  • Shark Bait (January 2008) The Xanadu Connection, Shark Bait and Doomcrack
  • The Paradise Plot (June 2008) The Paradise Plot and Deathmask
  • Polestar (November 2008) Flittermouse, Polestar, The Scent Of Danger, Snake Goddess and Double Eagle
  • The Girl Machine (July 2009) The Girl Machine, Beware of Butterflies and The Nevsky Nude
  • Nightbird (March 2010) Nightbird, Hot-Shot and Ape of Diamonds

The Harpies, included in The Spy Who Loved Me, is the first non-Fleming-based Bond comic strip to be reprinted as well as the first original story. River of Death, in the Colonel Sun collection, is the second original story to be published (Colonel Sun itself being an adaptation of the first post-Fleming Bond novel). The Golden Ghost is the first collection comprising all-original stories.

The collection The Phoenix Project indicates that the July 2007 release was to have been Nightbird, but this was not published as scheduled. The Nightbird collection eventually saw print in March 2010 and is considered the final release in the Titan series as all Daily Express-related strips have now been reprinted.

Third Titan Books series

From September 2009 to November 2014 larger volumes called 'Omnibus' editions were released containing more stories in each volume.

  • The James Bond Omnibus: Volume 001 (September 2009) Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, Moonraker, Diamonds Are Forever, From Russia with Love, Dr. No, Goldfinger, Risico, From a View to a Kill, For Your Eyes Only and Thunderball
  • The James Bond Omnibus: Volume 002 (February 2011) On Her Majesty's Secret Service, You Only Live Twice, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Living Daylights, Octopussy, The Hildebrand Rarity and The Spy Who Loved Me
  • The James Bond Omnibus: Volume 003 (March 2012) The Harpies, River of Death, Colonel Sun, The Golden Ghost, Fear Face, Double Jeopardy and Starfire
  • The James Bond Omnibus: Volume 004 (October 2012) Trouble Spot, Isle of Condors, The League of Vampires, Die With My Boots On, The Girl Machine, Beware of Butterflies, The Nevsky Nude, The Phoenix Project and The Black Ruby Caper
  • The James Bond Omnibus: Volume 005 (November 2013) Till Death Do Us Part, The Torch-Time Affair, Hot-Shot, Nightbird, Ape of Diamonds, When The Wizard Awakes, Sea Dragon, Death Wing and The Xanadu Connection
  • The James Bond Omnibus: Volume 006 (November 2014) Shark Bait, Doomcrack, The Paradise Plot, Deathmask, Flittermouse, Polestar, The Scent Of Danger, Snake Goddess and Double Eagle

Fourth Titan Books series

From November 2015 a series of hardcover collections was released containing up to six stories in each volume.

  • James Bond – SPECTRE: The Complete Comic Strip Collection (November 2015) Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and You Only Live Twice
  • The Complete James Bond – Dr No: The Classic Comic Strip Collection 1958-60 (November 2016) Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, Moonraker, Diamonds Are Forever, From Russia with Love and Dr. No
  • The Complete James Bond – Goldfinger: The Classic Comic Strip Collection 1960-66 (March 2017) Goldfinger, Risico, From a View to a Kill, For Your Eyes Only, The Man with the Golden Gun and The Living Daylights
  • The Complete James Bond – Octopussy: The Classic Comic Strip Collection 1966-69 (November 2017) Octopussy, The Hildebrand Rarity, The Harpies, River of Death

See also

Further reading

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